What is Content Marketing and How to Crush It on a Tiny Budget


What do you get when you combine Jell-O, Doritos,
and Spiderman? Three things. Billions of dollars spent on marketing, some
fine content, and a nasty snack. Huge companies like these have the people
and resources to experiment. And even if there’s little impact, it barely
makes a dent in their profits. Now, for people like you and I, we probably
can’t afford a SuperBowl commercial or make a blockbuster film. But it doesn’t mean you can’t create impactful
content marketing campaigns. So in this tutorial, I’m going to show you
what content marketing looks like and how you can use it to grow your business. Stay tuned. [music] What’s up marketers? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool that
helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and dominate your niche. Now, content marketing is more than just
blogging or creating videos for YouTube. According to CMI, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract
and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Now, let’s break these down into some key points. You need to create content and distribute it. In terms of content attributes, it should
be valuable, relevant, and consistent. On top of that, you should know exactly who you’re
targeting so you can attract and retain them. Most importantly, the content should drive
profitable customer action. Now, content marketing isn’t exactly new. It’s been around for centuries. For example, in 1904, a relatively unknown brand,
named Jell-O, created their first recipe book. And of course, the main ingredient for every
recipe was their jelly product, making their content relevant to their business. They went door-to-door distributing free copies and this contributed to over a million
dollars in sales by 1906. With inflation, that’s nearly 30 million dollars today. Now, in 1964, Hasbro created a line of military-themed
dolls and action figures called G.I. Joe. The toy didn’t do so well and was eventually
discontinued in 1978. Then in 1982, Hasbro partnered with Marvel
creating a new series of comic books, called “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,” which
brought the action figures back to life. When high-quality content and stories integrate
your products, it influences purchasing decisions. And that’s content marketing in a box. But successful content marketing ideas
for your business don’t exactly fit in a box. Every business is unique and there are other
external factors that can impact your campaigns. So to heighten your chances of executing a
successful content marketing strategy you can use a 4-prong strategy that I call
“The CART formula.” C is for content. The content requires you to think of a topic
and format you’ll use. For example, will it be a blog post, video,
commercial, infographic, or whatever. A is for audience. Having a clearly defined audience is going
to help you refine that format as well as your distribution strategy. For example, a personal finance guide would likely
resonate with married couples, aged 25 and older. Probably not as much for teenagers that are
still dependant on their parents. R is for relevance. Content marketing isn’t about virality. It’s about driving profitable customer action. So keeping your content relevant to your products
will ensure it’s serving your business. Finally is timing. Being in the right place at the right time
can increase your chances of success. Generally speaking, the more criteria it fits,
the better your campaign will do. For example, a CART is better than just a CAR. Let’s look at a few examples of companies
doing content marketing that I don’t think were crazy expensive to execute. I’ll break them down through my lens, and
give you ideas on how you can replicate them. The first example is a YouTube series called
“Will it Blend.” This series was a wildly successful brand
campaign where Tom Dickson, founder of Blendtec, was able to showcase the power of his blender. The content was simple, yet brilliant. Create videos of putting random objects into
a blender, and see if it’ll blend to dust. They took the boring topic of blending and
made it exciting. The videos entice curiosity, disbelief, and
a lot of dust. And it’s pretty clear that they nailed relevance. Their product is the star of the show. And without it, the videos wouldn’t have had
the effect they did. The place where they fell short in my opinion
was the audience aspect. If you look at their YouTube videos, you’ll
see that their “will it blend” videos all have a crazy number of views. But then they tried creating helpful recipe
tutorials to go after a more relevant audience. And you’ll see that they barely got
viewed in comparison. Their current audience isn’t there to learn recipes. They’ve subscribed to watch them destroy things. As for timing, blending is an evergreen topic. But they’ve done something clever to leverage timing. You’ll see here that the iPhone 6 Plus was
released on September 19, 2014. 4 days later, they blended it. Amazon Prime day was on July 16, 2018. So to “celebrate,” they blended an Amazon
Echo just 3 days before. While the novelty of blending objects has clearly
died down, you’ll see the number of searches for the brand itself stayed strong for
quite a while after. Now, I wish that I could give you tips on
manufacturing virality, but I’d be doing you a disservice by trying. Reason being, I don’t think it can be done
consistently. So let’s move on to a more repeatable example, and that’s Superdrug’s “Perceptions of
Perfection” campaign. Superdrug is a company that sells health,
beauty, and skincare products. In June 2015, they launched their “Perceptions
of Perfection” campaign. Their content was actually crowd-sourced. They asked female graphic designers from 18
different countries to retouch a photo of a woman to “make her more attractive.” As you can see, cultural perceptions of “beauty”
were quite different depending on culture. And that was their point. Beauty can’t be judged objectively.The topic
was controversial, personal and emotional. To me, it seems like they were targeting women
around the same age as the person used in the photo. And with 18 perceptions of beauty, I’m sure
they were able to impact a diverse audience. Relevance was there too because the campaign
attracts their target demographic and builds both brand awareness and trust. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. This was right around the time that the body
positivity movement was gaining traction. And it only continued to explode since then. This campaign has racked up over 837 links from
unique websites and over 34,000 social shares. But this campaign wasn’t completely unique. About a year before, a freelance journalist
sent an unaltered photo of herself to 40 photoshop experts from around the world. It blew up and she was featured in numerous
large publications and also gave a TEDX talk on her experiment. So let’s talk about finding replicable topics
you can apply to your content marketing. You can use a tool like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
which lets you search through over a billion pages of content and filter and sort by metrics
that matter to you. So I’ll enter a topic like “beauty.” And you’ll see over 10 million pages that
have this word in the title or body. Now, let’s narrow down the results to only pages
that have at least 100 links from unique websites. And we’ll set one more filter to show pages
that also have at least 1,000 social shares. After about a minute of skimming the article
titles, I was able to find some great ideas to draw inspiration from like: “See Why We Have an Absolutely Ridiculous
Standard of Beauty in Just 37 Seconds,” and “The Beauty of Human Skin in Every Color.” The next content marketing example is from
Tasty’s YouTube channel. Tasty is a YouTube channel with recipes and
other food-related content run by Buzzfeed. And I’m sure you’ve seen their creatives on
either YouTube or Facebook at some point. They popularized this super-simple format of
video recipes done in just a couple of minutes. And the audience they hit hard was anyone
who cooks at home, specifically busy moms and dads that want to make something easy
and delicious fast. Buzzfeed monetizes through several channels
like branded content, ads, and affiliate commissions. So relevance in this case comes down to creating
interesting videos people want to watch and then have those people share it so they can
get more ad impressions. Now, something I really like about the Tasty
YouTube channel is that they don’t clickbait you into their videos. In fact, a good portion of their most popular
videos are clearly targeting keywords like, “how to cook perfect eggs every time.” “how to make perfect chocolate chip cookies,” and “how to cook with cast iron,” which all get searched on a regular basis. This allows them to get consistent traffic
to these videos since they’re evergreen topics. Their videos on YouTube alone have racked
up over three and a half billion views. Plus, they’re getting millions of new views
everyday and about 100,000 subscribers every week to week and a half. Now, Tasty’s success on YouTube comes down
to three things: They publish great content consistently. They use eye-catching thumbnails. And they use a unique video format that serves
a need in a timely manner. So something that I love about their strategy
is that they started off by targeting keywords that get searched. And now that they have a targeted audience
of around 16.6 million foodies, they can create new types of content like this series
on making really big food. To find keywords that get searched on YouTube,
you can use a tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Set the search engine to YouTube and enter
a broad keyword related to your niche. So let’s look up “recipe” and “recipes.” Next, I’ll go to the phrase match report,
where we can see over 260,000 keyword ideas containing one of these words. Alternatively, you can use different phrases
like specific ingredients. So let’s switch this up to “shrimp,” “tomato,”
“rice,” and “chicken.” Now, this time, I’ll use the Include search box
and search for a modifier like “how to.” And now we have even more great ideas assuming
we had a YouTube channel with recipes. The next example is an Auto Loan Calculator
by cars.com. Cars.com is a website that connects sellers
with buyers. They created a simple auto loan calculator,
which has collected over 18,000 backlinks from over 570 unique websites. And this has helped them rank for competitive
keywords in Google like “car payment calculator,” “car loan calculator,” and “auto loan calculator,”
which collectively bring in over a hundred thousand visits from Google each month. Their content is a tool. It calculates car payments over the life of your loan. Just fill in the form like so, and you’ll see
your estimated monthly payment amounts. Now, the best part about this calculator is
that it’s super-relevant to their business. If you scroll down a touch, you’ll see a heading
that says, “Search for Cars by Price Up to…” and whatever value you entered. Then enter your zip code, click the search
button, and it’ll take you to their listings of available cars. And just like that, they’ve turned search
visitors into potential buyers. The timing here is two-fold. First, the topic of car loans is evergreen. People are always in the market for a car. And naturally, cars are pretty expensive,
so most will have to get a loan. But since most people are likely finding this page
through search engines, it adds an additional layer to timing. They’re reaching potential buyers right in
the exact moments that they’ve searched for keywords like “car loan calculator.” Someone searching for that is likely in the
process of buying a car or seeing how much car they can afford. Tools are a great way to help potential buyers. And since they’re already on your site, you
have the opportunity to control the experience that comes after. A great way to find tools that are worth creating
is to search in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer for broad keywords related to your niche. So if I had a health and fitness website,
I might enter phrases like “body building,” “fitness,” “health,” and “weight loss.” Next, I’ll go to the All keywords report. And to find tools, I’ll just click the Include
filter, select the Any word tab, and type in words like “tool” and “calculator.” And now we have a bunch of content ideas along
with all keyword metrics like Search Volume, Keyword Difficulty, and CPC values. Now, I wouldn’t recommend just recreating
the exact same tool as everyone else. Instead, look for issues with the current results and
see how you can improve the experience for users. And if you hope to get discovered through
search engines, you’ll need to get backlinks to that page so you can rank high. To do this, I recommend watching our video
on replicating your competitors’ links. I’ll leave a link in the description. The final example is one close to my heart,
and that’s Ahrefs’ content marketing strategy. Yes, a bit of a shameless self-plug, but I’m
not sharing this with you because I think we’re the best at content marketing. But I do know a little more details on the
impact it’s had on our company’s growth. At Ahrefs, our content for the most part is
created as blog posts and videos. And the topics we cover today are data studies and evergreen tutorials on how to do
SEO and marketing. Now, the reason why we chose these two formats
is because they appeal to our audience, who are SEOs and website owners who
want to get more traffic to their site. And our #1 promotion method is to rank our
pages high on both Google and YouTube. This has led to traffic for both our blog
and YouTube channel. Now, while we can’t attribute 100% of our
growth to our marketing efforts alone, we’ve been growing around 50% year on year. And aside from a great product, I like to think
our content contributes because of relevance. Nearly all of our content is on topics where
we can naturally plug our products as a solution to a problem, making our tools the star of
the show. As for timing, you may have noticed that we
never publish content on news-related topics like Google Algorithm updates. While doing this might lead to spikes in traffic, it’s not in-line with our overall content
marketing strategy. We’re a pretty lean team, so we focus on publishing
evergreen content and keeping those pieces always up to date. So the way we choose topics for YouTube and
Google are similar. First, we start with keyword research. For YouTube, I’d use Keywords Explorer, select
YouTube as the search engine, and type in broad queries like “seo,” “keyword research,”
and “link building.” Then I’ll go to the Phrase match report to see
other keyword ideas that contain these words. From here, it’s just a matter of picking keywords
with search volume that are relevant to our business, and then optimizing them for YouTube search. I’ll leave a link to our video on doing YouTube
SEO and YouTube keyword research in the description which goes into the step-by-step process. As for our blog, we follow a similar process
where we enter a few seed keywords, go to the Phrase match report, and then analyze
the SERP for standout keywords. Since Keywords Explorer shows the estimated
search traffic for the top ranking pages, we use “traffic potential” as a way to better
gauge whether a page is worth creating. We have quite a few detailed tutorials on
doing keyword research, so I’ll link those up in the description too. Now, all of the content marketing examples
that I’ve shared with you don’t require multi-million dollar budgets. In fact, if you’re doing the work alone or
with a partner, some won’t require any money other than your time. Remember that content marketing is a long
play and as you successfully execute for your audience, you should see traffic, brand awareness,
and revenue grow in tandem. Now, I know that there are a ton of examples
of great businesses doing great content marketing. So let me know of any examples or companies
that you love in the comments. And if you enjoyed this video, make sure to
like, share, and subscribe for more actionable marketing tutorials. So keep grinding away, and I’ll see you in
the next tutorial.

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